How to build a Churchill Downs Single 6 Jackpot ticket

If not hit Thursday or Friday, there will be a significant mandatory distribution of the Single 6 Jackpot on closing day of the Churchill Downs Spring/Summer meet on Saturday.

With a 20-cent minimum cost for each combination, getting involved in the Single 6 mandatory payout is well within the reach of players with even the humblest of budgets. Pooling your capital with one or more people is also another fun way to increase your chances of cashing while spreading the risk.

However, like other multi-race exotics, there are good ways and bad ways in formulating tickets. With a low minimum cost, the enticement might be there to include as many horses as possible in each leg of the Single 6 sequence – an extreme form of a “caveman” ticket.

There are problems with that approach, not the least of which is the potentiality of reducing your profit margin if too many favorites or other short-price horses win. The worst case scenario would be hitting the Single 6 having invested more into the wager than you get in return.

The primary key in creating any successful multi-race exotic ticket is the ability to take a stand in one or more races with the minimum amount of horses while spreading out in races that seem more contentious and wide open.

With it being closing day and field sizes likely to be very large, finding “singles” during the Single 6 sequence could prove challenging, but sharp handicapping will potentially reward those players who can find them while expanding coverage in races that don’t seem as clear cut.

If singles are hard to come by in the opinion of some bettors participating in the Single 6, the low minimum cost of the wager affords players the leeway of using an extra horse without busting the bankroll. Using two horses or less in as many races as possible is ideal, especially if avoiding altogether heavy favorites or vulnerable short-priced contenders everyone else is using.

Another ideal scenario is defeating a favorite, if possible, in the first leg. The only race in the sequence where bettors can see the actual win odds, beating the first favorite in the Single 6 is a great beginning as it significantly reduces the number of live tickets remaining. Indeed, latching onto several higher-priced winners early and being live to a number of scenarios (whether short-priced or not) later in the sequence can be the best of all worlds.

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Hoosier Park Harness Racing

Hoosier Park Harness Race of the Week for June 26

A big field of 11 sophomore fillies will trot one mile in the 10th Race at Hoosier Park on Wednesday evening. A $40,000 purse is on the line for the talented and accomplished group.

Don’t forget to get your GAIT INSURANCE before the Race of the Week! Your $5 WIN BET will be refunded if your horse breaks stride and loses the race!

The race is headlined by unbeaten champion WOODSIDE CHARM (#9) (4-5), who will be making her three-year-old debut on this occasion. Owned, trained, and driven by Verlin Yoder, the superb daughter of Chapter Seven was a dominant performer in 2018 when amassing more than $521,000 in earnings, capped by her front running tally in the Breeders’ Crown at Pocono Downs. The Empire State-bred has run two qualifying fields off of their respective feet in preparation of her return to racing, and she is the obvious one to beat today. Woodside Charm was a nine-length winner on this oval in her first lifetime race.

AUNT ROSE (#10) (8-1), one of three in the cast conditioned by Christopher Beaver, got clear late when rallying to be runner-up at Northfield Park in advance of today. The Uncle Peter sophomore has a big turn of foot and might benefit most if a speed duel occurs up front. Aunt Rose could possibly carve out a really nice trip breaking from the second tier. Trace Tetrick will be in the sulky.

GRAND SWAN (#6) (7-2) is no slouch herself and is perfect from a pair of assignments this campaign. The bay filly by Swan for All dons a sharp 14-10-3-0 lifetime mark, and she could improve once again in just her third outing of 2019. The Indiana-bred will be one of many vying for position in the early going with Lewayne Miller in the bike.

KEYSTONE ABBEY (#3) (9-1) is in prime form showing four wins and a close second from her last five races. Also trained by Beaver, the daughter of Cantab Hall was successful at Hoosier in her three-year-old debut and could be a danger with some improvement in this loaded field. The Keystone State-bred is likely to take up a spot behind the favorite early on under the guidance of John De Long.


Hoosier Park Harness Racing (c) Jamie Linscott/Hoosier Park

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Monmouth Park Stakes Spot Plays for Saturday, June 22, 2019

Saturday’s 13-race card at Monmouth Park features four stakes races including the featured $300,000 United Nations (G1) at 1 3/8 miles on the turf, which makes Monmouth the center of attention in the horse racing world this weekend.

Monmouth’s Saturday stakes action kicks off in race 7 with the $150,000 Eatontown (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, and then continues in races 10-11-12 with the $150,000 Philip H. Iselin (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, the United Nations and the $100,000 Lady’s Secret, the filly & mare counterpart of the Iselin at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. An All-Stakes Pick 3 starts in Race 10, as does the 50-cent late Pick 4.

Race 7 – The Eatontown (G3)

The six-horse Eatontown is not part of the late Pick 4 sequence, but it nevertheless looks like a live betting race. That being said, the favorites look tough in the race with Valedictorian (#1) (8-5) and Inflexibility (#6) (2-1) looming as the ones to beat.

Valedictorian disappointed last time in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (G2) on the Kentucky Derby (G1) undercard, but warrants favoritism here based on her February 9 win in the Suwanee River (G3) at Gulfstream Park, as well as in-the-money finishes in the Honey Fox (G3), Marshua’s River (G3) and Claiming Crown Tiara. Now trainer Kelly Breen brings Valedictorian back to Monmouth, where she is three-for-four in the win column on the grass as he looks to improve on his big 33% win percentage at the current meet.

The main challenger will be Inflexibility, who prepped off a seven-month layoff last out in the Gallorette (G3) on the Preakness Stakes (G1) undercard, and now is ready to improve in the second off the layoff. Inflexibility goes out for trainer Chad Brown with jockey Jose Ortiz in for the ride aboard this multiple Grade 2-placed challenger.

Box the two favorites, Valedictorian and Inflexibility, in the exactas.

Race 10 – Philip H. Iselin Stakes (G3)

Charles Town super horse Runnin’toluvya (#3) (3-1) takes his show on the road to Monmouth for the first time and many handicappers will be anxious to disrespect his chances. To underrate this horse in this kind of a spot, however, would be a mistake.

Runnin’toluvya enters this race riding high on a 10-race winning streak – all at Charles Town – at distances ranging from 6 1/2 furlongs to nine furlongs, including five stakes scores with two against open company. The breakout win for Runnin’toluvya that stamps him as the real deal was his half-length victory in the Charles Town Classic (G2) over the Iselin’s top challenger, Diamond King (#5) (2-1). Runnin’toluvya didn’t make the lead in the Charles Town Classic yet still prevailed, and that ability to rate will again make him so difficult to beat, especially because the top contender in this race is the already-vanquished Diamond King.

If you are looking for an exacta partner alongside Runnin’toluvya in the Iselin, instead of morning-line favorite Diamond King, go ahead and try with overlay Zanotti (#6) (10-1), whose best-career BRIS Speed figure (105) came at Monmouth Park last season when second in the 1 1/8-mile Monmouth Cup (G3).

The play is an exacta box with Runnin’toluvya and Zanotti.

Race 11 – The United Nations (G1)

The $300,000 United Nations may not be the rich prize it once was, but it is still a coveted Grade 1 spot for top turf distance horses on the East Coast. Most of this year’s United Nations field will be stepping up and looking for their first Grade 1 victories, but in order to make that achievement they will need to beat 2017 United Nations winner, Bigger Picture (#1) (3-1).

Bigger Picture, trained by Mike Maker, has seen his form and fortunes go up and down since that career-best win, but his form recently seems to have improved again, not only with a repeat victory in the John B. Connally Turf Cup (G3) at Sam Houston but also with a last-out win in the 1 1/2-mile Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland on April 20.  For Bigger Picture, against this field, a United Nations repeat looks likely this season. Go ahead and take the 3-1 odds if you can get it and bet to win.

Exotics choices abound in the United Nations exactas and trifectas. The leading challenger looks like Channel Cat (#2) (7-2) for trainer Todd Pletcher. Channel Cat was not up to the task last out in the Manhattan (G1) against the likes of divisional leader Bricks and Mortar and other Chad Brown toughies like Robert Bruce and Raging Bull. Those rivals will not be present in this spot, however, and against this type of competition and at this distance, Channel Cat makes sense based on his back-to-back stakes wins last fall in the Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs and Bald Eagle Derby at Laurel Park. This could be this horse’s breakout race as a four-year-old.

Meanwhile, Chad Brown can never be ignored in a spot like this, and he’ll send two horses out with Arrocha (#3) (12-1) and Focus Group (#4) (2-1), who round-out the list of top contenders.

In the exotics, box Bigger Picture, Channel Cat, Arrocha and Focus Group in the trifectas, and also make another trifecta keying Bigger Picture over the other three.

Race 12 – The Lady’s Secret Stakes

Speed is never a bad thing at Monmouth on the main track, but there are at least two horses and maybe more in this race who will be dead set on the lead, which could open the door for this race to be won from off the pace.

While Coffee Crush (#6) (9-2) and Alberobello (#8) (7-2) go at it on the lead, and Breaking Bread (#5) (12-1) ensures no let-up on the pace, you can look for a bonafide stalker with proven two-turn success. Logical alternatives like Pink Sands (#3) (7-2) and Sun Studio (#4) (6-1) seem to do best around one turn, so that leaves My Miss Lilly (#1) (3-1) as the best bet in the race.

From a betting perspective in the Lady’s Secret, bet My Miss Lilly to win and key her in exactas over the speeds, Coffee Crush and Alberobello.

Enjoy a great card of racing and wagering Saturday at Monmouth Park!

PHOTO: Bigger Picture and jockey Tyler Gaffalione win the Elkhorn Stakes (G2) on April 20, 2019, at Keeneland (c) Coady Photography/Keeneland

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Selections for Friday’s card at Royal Ascot 2019

Frankie Dettori stole the show Thursday at Royal Ascot, winning all four Group events and leaving the overseas bookmakers reeling. We might be overestimating his chances in a couple races, but the Italian riding great could be in line to win as many as three more pattern events on Day 4 of the Royal meeting on Friday. Here’s how things look to us going in.

FREE Royal Ascot PPs courtesy of!

Race 1, The Albany (G3)

#6 DAAHEYEH (6-1) has an excellent piece of form as she looked very professional for her age in winning a May 18 Newmarket maiden by 1 3/4 lengths over Raffle Prize, who landed the Queen Mary (G2) on Wednesday. From all appearances, this daughter of Bated Breath should relish the step up to six furlongs.

#9 EXCLUSIVELY (20-1) was very early to race with a couple starts in April. The first was a decent-looking maiden win at Redcar, and last time she was wore down late at Salisbury by Good Vibes, subsequently a stakes winner at York. Enters fresh with plenty of upside, and price should be right with rising star Oisin Murphy up.

#16 LAST SURPRISE (15-1) is the first mount of the day for Dettori. She wheels back on relatively short rest after a sharp 3 1/2-length debut score over the all-weather at Lingfield, rating very close to the pace before asserting her superiority in the stretch going this distance. Remains to be seen whether she transfers her form to turf, but she is by Prix Morny (G1) and Norfolk (G2) winner No Nay Never. She’s trained by Simon Crisford, who teamed up with Dettori to take the Norfolk on Thursday.

#20 NAYIBETH (4-1) looks best of the two Wesley Ward runners. We’ll see how far she can stretch her speed after dominating her Keeneland debut going 4 1/2 furlongs. A flyer for the exotics is #19 MOON OF LOVE (30-1), who was badly hampered in her June 8 debut at Beverley in a relatively lucrative conditions race. She was in contention for the win at the time of trouble, and might move forward from that despite the quick turnaround.

Race 2, The King Edward VII (G2)

#8 PRIVATE SECRETARY (3-1) appeared as if he could have given a lot more when taking the Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood by a measured head last time at just short of this distance. Second twice as a juvenile, he’s now won three straight and is reunited here with Dettori, who was aboard for his most authoritative win over a stiff 10 furlongs at Sandown. Like Star Chaser in Thursday’s Ribblesdale (G2), this has probably been the goal from early in the season.

#5 JAPAN (6-5) exceeded expectations in the Epsom Derby (G1), narrowly losing as a 20-1 chance by a half-length to stable companion Anthony Van Dyck. Obviously much improved off his season-opening fourth in the Dante (G2), but he’s now going from overlay-in-retrospect to likely underlay here at 7-5 or less.

#3 HUMANITARIAN (15-1) also outran expectations at Epsom, finishing seventh as a 33-1 chance after a slow start. Like #1 BANGKOK (10-1), he might not have been entirely suited to the Surrey course, which is not to everyone’s taste.

#6 PABLO ESCOBARR (8-1) was a clear second to Anthony Van Dyck in the Lingfield Derby Trial and wisely passed on the Epsom classic to aim for this more reasonable goal. A worthy inclusion in Trifecta plans. #7 PONDUS (5-1) is an intriguing stakes newcomer who’s reeled off two straight after dropping his debut in April. Relative lack of seasoning a concern.

Race 3, The Commonwealth Cup (G1)

Can Dettori help lift #1 ADVERTISE (10-1) into the winner’s circle? Given his juvenile form, the support for this colt was a tad cool heading into the 2000 Guineas (G1), and things panned out that way as he finished 15th of 19. It certainly could have been him not getting the mile, but the effort was below par all around. This trip should suit much better; after finishing a length second to the sadly-missed Calyx in the course-and-distance Coventry (G2), he ripped off wins in the July (G2) and Phoenix (G1) before splitting Too Darn Hot and Anthony Van Dyck in the Dewhurst (G1). Although not expecting double digits now with Frankie in the saddle, he’s capable of much better and seems worth taking a shot with at the price.

#7 TEN SOVEREIGNS (6-5) captured the Middle Park (G1) against a couple of these last fall and perhaps would have been closer when well-backed in the 2000 Guineas if not racing on the wrong part of the course which, based on the result, favored horses racing closer to the stands. Will take some beating dropping back in trip.

#3 JASH (4-1) has just suffered the one loss — to Ten Sovereigns in the Middle Park — and didn’t need to be fully cranked to win the King Charles II Stakes in his May 19 comeback at Newmarket. Should improve from that run.

#4 KHAADEM (7-1) enters with three wins from four starts, including a respectable half-length triumph in the Carnarvon Stakes over a straight six at Newbury. Likely to be overlooked a tad with no Group form to go by, but certainly acts like one who will make an impact at this level going forward. #2 HELLO YOUMZAIN (9-2) benefited from quick ground when handing the exciting (and subsequently injured) Calyx a first career loss in the Sandy Lane (G2) at Haydock. Waters are deeper this time around.

Race 4, The Coronation (G1)

She concedes relative seasoning with just the two runs since her career commenced on April 25, but #4 JUBILOSO (4-1) aggressively and confidently spotted here by Sir Michael Stoute after demolishing male rivals by seven lengths in her turf debut at Newbury last time. Bred to be any kind as she’s by Shamardal and out of a half-sister to the legendary Frankel and multiple Group 1 winner Noble Mission, who’s own status is rising at stud.

#3 HERMOSA (1-1) obviously the one to beat after back-to-back victories in the 1000 Guineas (G1) and Irish 1000 Guineas (G1). Her stature has certainly risen in the past seven weeks or so when she was a modest 10-1 for the Newmarket classic. Perhaps has enjoyed favorable trips to an extent thus far and we’ll see if more early pressure will be applied this time.

#2 HAPPEN (15-1) is a somewhat intriguing second stringer from Coolmore who needed every last bit of seven furlongs to win a Group 3 at The Curragh last time. Has probably been begging for more distance for awhile.

French invader #1 CASTLE LADY (7-1) puts her undefeated mark on the line after reeling off three wins early in the year, including the French 1000 Guineas (G1) narrowly over Commes, who just missed in the French Oaks (G1) last weekend. How the French form stacks up with the English/Irish form is anyone’s guess beforehand. #8 PRETTY POLLYANNA (7-1) a solid second to Hermosa in the Irish Guineas in what was her season debut, but feeling is she’s still better at distances short of this.

Watch and wager on all Royal Ascot races at Daily television coverage is also available on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) or NBC.

More analysis is available on the Royal Ascot news and notes page.

PHOTO: Queen Elizabeth in the Royal Procession on June 19, 2019, at Ascot Race Course during Royal Ascot (c)

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Two-year-olds of interest for Friday, June 21, 2019

A trio of intriguing juvenile races with some well-bred prospects caught my eye coming up on Friday. Races from Belmont Park, Churchill Downs and Santa Anita Park highlight the action of the youngsters who could be our stars of tomorrow.


Race 1

This five-furlong dash on the main oval attracted a field of eight. Steve Asmussen has unveiled a few sharp juveniles already in 2019, and he has two in this field with one of particular interest to me. Green Destiny (#2) (7-2) is out of a stakes winner who is a half-sister to 2015 Las Virgenes Stakes (G1) heroine Callback. The third dam of the Super Saver filly is the A.P. Indy mare Supercharger, the dam of 2010 Kentucky Derby (G1) hero Super Saver!

Also in the cast is Frank’s Rockette (#6) (8-1), who is from the family of two-time champion Indian Blessing, as well as the Ian Wilkes-trained Emily’s Oasis (#8) (4-1), a daughter of Triple Crown star American Pharoah from the family 1991 Kentucky Derby (G1) victor Strike the Gold.


Race 7

A cast of seven two-year-old colts and one filly will speed five-eighths on the green. Invader (#1) (5-2) draws inside for conditioner Wesley Ward. The $500,000 yearling purchase is a full brother to 2018 Summer Stakes (G1) winner Fog of War. The Kentucky-bred will have Irad Ortiz Jr. at the controls.

Kokokomo (#3) (5-1) makes his second lifetime run for Todd Pletcher. The son of Uncle Mo gets blinkers and has room for improvement coming from South Florida. His dam, the A.P. Indy mare Vuemont, is a full sister to two-time Canadian champion Marchfield.

Stuart Janney III’s homebred Cloudbased (#4) (8-1) is a half-brother to 2012 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) victor Data Link. The Orb colt is bred to be a good one who could thrive on the turf.


Race 2

Unchain Her Heart (#1) (5-2) makes her first appearance for Brian Koriner in this 4 1/2-furlong sprint for California-bred/-sired fillies. The Shackleford filly was a $140,000 Barretts yearling buy who is cut out to be a runner. The bay is out of the winning Doneraile Court mare Courting Elaine, who is a half-sister to three stakes winners including the sublime Wise Dan who earned 11 Grade 1 wins topped by tallies in the 2012 and 2013 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).

PHOTO: Churchill Downs (c) Coady Photography

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Profit Line sheet a valuable tool in handicapping Canterbury Park’s Saturday card


Trying to find the betting value in a particular race? Check out the Profit Line sheet available at

Each Profit Line sheet includes program information, track bias details, BRIS Class and Speed ratings, BRIS Top 3 picks, and Chalk Busters – top ranked non-favorites.

Most importantly, the Profit Line sheet includes a fair value odds line based on an exhaustive analysis of a multitude of handicapping factors. The end result is a measurement of each horse’s probability of winning and a line determining which runners are overlays or underlays.

“If handicapping a wide open race, I select the horse in the Top 5 of the Profit Line with the highest overlaid odds,” says Cameron Hays, a Kentucky-based bettor and devoted user of the Profit Line sheet.

Profit Line can be used in conjunction with the Conditional Wagering option available on the platform. With Conditional Wagering, you can set the minimum Win odds you are willing to accept on a horse with “x” minutes to post. This option is also available for Exacta and Double bets.

Profit Line is available for $5 per card from


On its most lucrative day of the 2019 season Saturday evening, Canterbury will be carding 11 races, five of which are stakes.

One horse on the undercard that the Profit Line sheet suggests could be tougher than expected based on its morning-line price is SHARP HOLIDAY (#2) in Race 2. Listed at 8-1 on the morning line, Sharp Holiday’s Profit Line fair odds are listed at 5-2.

Trained by the high-percentage Robertino Diodoro barn, Sharp Holiday encountered trouble early in her Canterbury debut on June 6 and swiftly dropped out of contention.

With a sharper break, Sharp Holiday has the speed to be in contention throughout. She switches to the turf on Saturday, which might explain her morning-line price. However, the daughter of multiple Grade 1 turf winner Thorn Song placed in one of two prior grass starts on the tougher Southern California circuit.

Sharp Holiday also ranks first in the BRIS Speed and Class ratings.

Every Friday, play for your share of $1,500 in’s Place Payout Canterbury! Opt in today!

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Exacta Bet of the Day for Saturday, June 22, 2019, at Canterbury Park

The Saturday, June 22, 2019, race card at Canterbury Park is one of the best days of the meet, complete with five stakes races worth a combined $500,000. The stakes action gets started in Race 4 with the running of the $50,000 Hoist Her Flag Stakes for fillies and mares, three-years-old and up, going six furlongs.

This race offers an excellent opportunity to hit an exacta and help you build bankroll for the remaining four stakes races on the 11-race card. The Hoist Her Flag features a nine-horse field led by a beatable-looking favorite. Knock off the chalk, and you could catch a big number in the exactas in Race 4.


ARI GIA (#2) (4-1) comes into this spot in career-best form off of three straight local victories, including a win two back in the $50,000 Lady Slipper Stakes for state-bred runners. Her excellent year could continue to roll along in this winnable spot, based on her five wins in her last six races, including five-for-five with jockey Francisco Arrieta aboard. The mare handles any track condition, and has the speed to lead and never look back but is versatile enough to not need the lead in order to win.

PUNTSVILLE (#5) (5-1) is the two-time defending champion of this race, but may not even be the favorite. The seven-year-old is making just her second start of 2019 and needed the last race, which came off a six-month layoff at Prairie Meadows in the Prairie Rose Stakes. She needs to turn the tables on Lake Ponchatrain, who beat her at Prairie Meadows, but will benefit from that return prep race in this spot and now gets back to perhaps her favorite track in a race she has owned since 2017.

LAKE PONCHATRAIN (#6) (5-2) owns two straight wins and three wins in the four starts so far in 2019 including a win over Puntsville and No Mercy Percy last out in the Prairie Rose Stakes. Her BRIS Speed figures stack up nicely against these, but perhaps her biggest edge in this race could be her pace advantage as a stalker/closer in a race that appears to have plenty of speed entered to help set up her late run.

HOTSHOT ANNA (#8) (7-2) is apparently a synthetic track monster who crushed three straight fields last year when last seen in back-to-back stakes wins at Arlington and Presque Isle Downs, including two graded scores. The likely favorite here based on the Chicago Handicap (G3) and Presque Isle Downs Masters (G2) victories, but those were on synthetic tracks, not dirt, and she has not been seen in the nine months since the Grade 2 win at Presque Isle.

In her favor, Hotshot Anna is capable of BRIS Speed figures far superior to these, and she appears versatile enough to handle any and all surfaces, including turf and also dirt. She won, and was stakes-placed, at Canterbury last year on the main track, but perhaps her vulnerability in this spot is the fact that she’s entering off the long layoff and without a prep race.

Several of the nine entrants in the Hoist Her Flag Stakes could be considered contenders, at least for the exactas, but you should be able to lock up the horses with the best and most legitimate chances to win by using the four horses listed above in the exactas. A four-horse box should lock this up, and if you are fortunate enough to beat the favorite or have the favorite run out of the exacta, you should be sitting on a good ticket.


$2 Exacta Box: 2, 5, 6, 8 = $24

PHOTO: Ari Gia wins the Lady Slipper Stakes at Canterbury Park under jockey Francisco Arrieta on May 18, 2019 (c) Coady Photography/Canterbury Park

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Selections for Thursday’s card at Royal Ascot 2019

There are several imposing favorites on Day 3 of the Royal Ascot meeting on Thursday, but we’ll be taking a swing against a few of them on what is normally the most highly-attended of the five days.

FREE Brisnet Past Performances for Royal Ascot are available here.

1st Race, The Norfolk (G2)

With a fast pace assured, a horse that can make up a little ground in the final stages might be the way to go in this five-furlong dash for two-year-olds. #1 A’ALI (8-1) debuted at Ripon 15 days ago, smoothly advanced through the field to take the lead, but was outfinished late by a neck to a rival that had one previous start under his belt. Potentially talented youngster is sure to improve and picks up Frankie Dettori for this one.

#13 SUNDAY SOVEREIGN (5-2) has convincingly won his last two Ireland, including a three-length victory over Arizona, who captured Tuesday’s Coventry (G2). That alone makes him the horse to beat from a class perspective.

#11 REAL APPEAL (10-1) already has four starts underneath him, all in France, with three of those narrow victories. The latest came in the Prix La Fleche at Maisons-Laffitte. Debuts for new connections here after fetching £265,000 at auction earlier this week.

#14 VENTURA REBEL (10-1) and #5 EXPRESSIONIST (8-1) have both shown potential so far over this course, the latter being the first winner by his 2000 Guineas (G1)-winning sire Night of Thunder. A torrid pace could be set by #9 MISTY GREY (20-1), who couldn’t see out six furlongs in a wickedly-fast, mostly downhill Woodcote at Epsom, and the Wesley Ward-trained Aqueduct graduate #8 MAVEN (7-1), the first winner for Triple Crown hero American Pharoah.

2nd Race, The Hampton Court (G3)

#2 BUCKHURST (12-1) debuted only 2 1/2 months ago, but has already made noticeable progress. The Joseph O’Brien-trained son of Australia closed gallantly to win on debut by a nose over very testing ground at Leopardstown, was not disgraced when fifth to Broome in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial (G3), and last time was only overcome by Constantinople in the final strides of the 10-furlong Gallinule (G3) at The Curragh, losing by half-length. Donnacha O’Brien stays aboard and mild progression puts him in contention at a price.

#3 CAPE OF GOOD HOPE (4-1), despite winning the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom, was wisely re-routed to the Prix du Jockey-Club (G1) earlier this month, where he finished fourth of 15. Though far from being one of Coolmore’s leading lights among the classic generation, this full brother to Royal Ascot winners Highland Reel and Idaho has been generally consistent from the start, including a pair of group placings last season in the Superlative (G2) and Royal Lodge (G2). A danger here, but not much value in the Win pool.

#15 SANGARIUS (8-1) was third behind King of Comedy (a close second in Tuesday’s St James’s Palace [G1]) in the May 23 Heron Stakes at Sandown in his season return, a race he undoubtedly needed having been off since October. A distant fourth to Too Darn Hot in the Dewhurst (G1) following career-opening wins at Newmarket and in a small stakes at Doncaster, this descendent of the blue hen Hasili has every right to progress further in this spot.

#6 FOX CHAIRMAN (9-2) didn’t have the best of trips when third to St James’s Palace hero Circus Maximus in the Dee Stakes at Chester, which was only his second career outing, and can come on from that performance. #12 KING OTTOKAR (7-1) has blown hot and cold in four outings thus far, perhaps finding conditions in the Chester Vase (G3) too deep last time in a race where he received quite a bit of backing.

3rd Race, The Ribblesdale (G2)

She might be the least fancied of John Gosden’s quartet, but #2 FANNY LOGAN (12-1) enters with some merits. She was beaten only a neck by stablemate Mehdaayih in her debut at Yarmouth last fall, and that rival went on to trounce Fanny Logan and others in the Cheshire Oaks, though she disappointed as the favorite in the Epsom Oaks (G1) after a rough passage. However, Fanny Logan’s Cheshire Oaks wasn’t bad given the state of the ground, and before then she ran to expectations winning a 10-furlong maiden at Wetherby. By Sea the Stars, she’s certainly capable of seeing out this trip better in more ideal conditions.

#8 QUEEN POWER (2-1) is a head away from being undefeated in three starts for Sir Michael Stoute. Passing on the Oaks after a late-surge win in the Fillies Trial at Newbury on May 18, she enters this with plenty of upside remaining and with relatively less exposure than many of the others in the field. She hasn’t yet gone 1 1/2 miles, but the extra ground should work to her advantage. However, she’s no sure thing at an expected short price.

#4 FRANKELLINA (7-1) narrowly missed in the Musidora (G3) two back when probably a race short, then wheeled back two weeks later in the Oaks in which she finished sixth. In general, it was a decent effort given Epsom is not to everyone’s taste, plus she raced outside in the straight which wasn’t necessarily the place to be. Trainer William Haggas and jockey James Doyle know their way around a good three-year-old filly being the human elements behind Sea of Class last year.

#3 FLEETING (5-2) outran her 25-1 price in the Epsom Oaks, gaining up the favorable inside part of the course after finding room. Aided to an extent by the bias on the Downs that weekend, she has the look of an underlay in trying to flatter that form here. #11 STAR CATCHER (10-1) was beaten a half-length by Queen Power at Newbury, a good effort in her stakes debut. She’s a Sea the Stars half to a pair of Royal Ascot winners.

4th Race, The Gold Cup (G1)

#4 STRADIVARIUS (6-5) is a veritable win machine, including six in a row dating back the past 13 months. He’s won a pair of Goodwood Cups (G1) and Yorkshire Cups (G2), among others, and now aims to land his second consecutive Gold Cup (G1) for trainer John Gosden. His Yorkshire Cup defense last month was more workmanlike than brilliant, but having had just the single run since August it was likely the best that could be expected. More critical eyes perhaps perceived impending weakness from the effort, and that might prove to be the case. However, the competition doesn’t seem quite as imposing as the 2018 edition that included Vazirabad, Order of St George, and Torcedor.

#9 FLAG OF HONOR (15-1), runner-up to Magical three times leading up to this, has plenty of class having won the Irish St Leger (G1) and placing a solid fourth to Stradivarius in the British Champions Long Distance Cup (G2). The main concern is that he figures to be prominent early and hasn’t yet traveled farther than two miles. It would be masterful if Ryan Moore can coax him the entire route, but even he can’t his relative class should enable to him to last for one of the bigger slices.

#6 CROSS COUNTER (4-1) is one of the logical candidates for second choice with victories in the Melbourne Cup (G1), Dubai Gold Cup (G2), and Gordon (G3) since last summer. However, he was the beneficiary of some relatively light imposts as a three-year-old facing older in the Melbourne Cup (112 pounds) and in his season debut in the Dubai Gold Cup (121), and gets a mere pound from Stradivarius in this first ever meeting with the staying champion. His consistency and ability to win speaks for itself, though.

#8 DEE EX BEE (5-1) was sidetracked after finishing second in last year’s Epsom Derby (G1), taking inopportune swings at other middle-distance Group 1s after trainer Mark Johnston had intended to focus on a St Leger (G1) bid. While the rest of the campaign proved fruitless, concentration on staying events this term has worked wonders with victories in the Sagaro (G3) and Henry II (G3).

Longshots: He’s probably not classy enough to get more than a piece, but the nine-year-old #5 THOMAS HOBSON (20-1) won’t be tiring going 2 1/2 miles as a multiple-year veteran of the 2 3/4-mile Queen Alexandra at this fixture. Second best to Stradivarius in the Long Distance Cup in October, and should forward off a season-opening second in Berlin. #3 MAGIC CIRCLE (15-1) was well-supported in the Melbourne Cup, but made no impact after easy wins in the Chester Cup and Henry II. He’s another that should come on from his comeback attempt, in his case a third in the Ormonde (G3) at Chester contested in boggy going.


Watch and wager on all Royal Ascot races at Daily television coverage is also available on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) or NBC.

More analysis is available on the Royal Ascot news and notes page.



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Churchill Downs Pick of the Week for June 20

The fifth Race at Churchill Downs on Thursday is a first-level allowance event that attracted a field nine chasing a substantial $97,000 purse. The 1 1/16-mile test is a key race on the card, concluding the early Pick 4 and commencing the late one. I fancy a runner with good value who will be a single on my tickets.

Joe Sharp’s BEANTOWN BOYS (#4) (9-2) makes a third run at this meeting since being claimed and seems poised to earn his first victory beneath the Twin Spires in a competitive field. The dark bay exits a pair of solid tries over the track and appears to be a perfect fit in this cast.

Midnight Lute five-year-old went one-mile with similar in his initial try for the barn on May 12 and finished a creditable third in a swiftly run contest. Kentucky-bred was close to a healthy pace before being outkicked inside the final furlong and wound up a clear third beneath today’s pilot Gabriel Saez.

In his most recent performance on May 30, Beantown Boys was full of run on the backside but had nowhere to go with a trio of runners hemming him to midstretch. The gelding finished gamely to just miss a placing and I argue that he may have been the winner with a smoother voyage.

Beantown Boys draws a good post with some pace to his inside today and can receive a more favorable trip. A winner in two of four assignments in 2019, the top pick has very good form in a race lacking a standout. And a trio of his main foes are sophomores facing elders, which is no easy task this time of year.

A going-away winner over a sloppy surface at Santa Anita in his seasonal bow, Beantown Boys could receive a wet track according to the forecast and that would only add to the appeal.

I will be keying Beantown Boys on Thursday.

Photo courtesy of Coady Photography

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Hanson’s Spot Plays for Day 2 at Royal Ascot

The richest and most anticipated race of week highlights the Day 2 action at Royal Ascot on Wednesday. The card kicks off with a 28-filly Queen Mary (G2), followed by Queen’s Vase (G2) for aspiring St Leger (G1) types. Our primary plays will be in the final two pattern events.

FREE Brisnet Past Performances for Royal Ascot are available here.

Race 3 — Prince of Wales’s (G1)

The eight-horse Prince of Wales’s over 1 1/4 miles has attracted the heavyweights #1 CRYSTAL OCEAN (4-1), #7 MAGICAL (3-2), and #8 SEA OF CLASS (2-1), plus the highly-capable-on-his-day #4 WALDGEIST (6-1).

Sea of Class fell a diminishing neck short of being acclaimed the best horse in Europe last season after a frustratingly tough beat to Enable in the latter’s repeat of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1). There was hope the rematch would occur here, but Enable was not ready in time and will instead reappear in the Eclipse (G1) at Sandown early next month.

With jockey James Doyle thankfully staying aboard after it was thought he’d be obliged to pilot the re-routed Masar for Godolphin in this spot, Sea of Class’ chances improved a whole lot right there. He’s ridden the filly in all of her starts, thus knows what makes her tick.

After missing in her career debut by a neck, Sea of Class reeled off four straight in advance of the Arc, with top-level victories coming in Irish Oaks (G1) and Yorkshire Oaks (G1). The Arc was an amazing effort given her bid was delayed by traffic, while Enable was much-better positioned throughout. Sea of Class might very well have won in several more strides.

Sea of Class may ultimately prove the best horse in the race by season’s end, but might not be today. Ten furlongs perhaps could be a little short of optimum for her (though she’s won two minor stakes at the trip), plus all of her main opponents have already had the benefit of a race or two or three already this term. The hope, though, is that talent will trump those disadvantages in a race connections have targeted for months.

Read Kellie Reilly’s Wednesday analysis here.

Race 4 — Duke of Cambridge (G2)

She was a course-and-distance winner at the Royal meeting last year, and should be a bigger price this time stepping up in class. #2 AGROTERA (12-1) stormed home to take the Sandringham Stakes (handicap) by nearly three lengths last season, and enters off a solid one-length win in the Snowdrop Stakes over the all-weather at Kempton against returning rivals #11 PREENING (20-1) and #13 RAWDAA (3-1), the latter the early favorite here.

Though her form was mixed following the Sandringham win last summer, the Kempton victory was arguably a sign her game has taken a forward step from ages three to four. Her post-Sandringham form lines on the turf look decent in retrospect. She missed by a neck to Poetic Charm in a Listed stakes at Longchamp, and while that rival didn’t run well in the U.S. last fall, she later captured a pair of Group 2s in Dubai. Agrotera was then a sub-par fifth to Beshaayir, recent winner of the Ridgewood Pearl (G2) over #1 I CAN FLY (9-2).

With two strong runs over this course and distance Agrotera looms a value play in this field of 17 fillies and mares with Gerald Mosse retaining the mount from Kempton.


Watch and wager on all Royal Ascot races at Daily television coverage is also available on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) or NBC.

More analysis is available on the Royal Ascot news and notes page.



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